The first week of the official 2015/16 pre-season comes to an end today with the squad looking forward to the weekend after a strenuous five days of testing, gym work and team challenges.

Monday morning consisted of screening and testing for all available players under the watchful eye of Head of Fitness Paul Bunce. The senior players, including new arrivals Nepia Fox-Matamua and Api Pewhairangi, and a sprinkling of Academy players were subjected to a YoYo or ‘bleep test’ in Renmore Community centre with New Zealander Bunce, in his second season in the head of fitness role, satisfied with the initial results.

There was more testing in the afternoon with a 1.2k speed and fitness assessment on the main pitch.

On Tuesday, nutritionist Marcus Shortall ensured that all players came back from their holidays under their maximum body fat composition by taking skin fold measurements. The players’ strength and power was then tested in the gym with a specific RSA (repeated sprint ability) assessment on the wattbike as well as the rowing machine.

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Hooker Jason-Harris Wright back to full fitness

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Danny Qualter and JP Cooney on the rowers

It was an early start for the players on Wednesday and although it was a ‘day off’ from the training field, the management had set the four ‘mini teams’ within the squad a challenge to earn first points up for grabs this season.  ‘Visiting all five counties in one day’ was one of the many challenges on the list that also included ‘busking on Shop Street’ and a ‘random act of kindness’ from each member of the team. During the busy schedule, the players also spent a few hours visiting the Summer Camps and leading training sessions for the children at Galwegians, Ballinasloe and Sligo RFC.

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One of the ‘mini teams’ on Shop Street as part of Wednesday’s team challenge

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Rodney Ah You at the Galway Free Range Eggs Summer Camps, Galwegians RFC

Thursday saw the re-introduction of Skills sessions headed up by Skills Coach Dave Ellis. While the fitness sessions continue each day, the forwards and backs will also be required to complete two weights sessions each day in the Sportsground gym.

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Skills Coach Dave Ellis

Martin Joyce, Logistics Manager and Team Manager Tim Allnutt worked tirelessly this week to organise the numerous pallets and boxes of BLK kit into individual and personalised bags for the 2015/16 squad. It won’t be long until the players are seen sporting the new items after collecting their gear bags today, Friday.

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 BLK delivery of 2015/16 kit

Pre-season continues next Monday with another 5-day working week and on July 13th, the remainder of the senior squad, namely those who were involved with the Emerging Ireland tour including new signing Ben Marshall, will arrive at the Sportsground to link up with their team mates.

As the new season looms, it’s high time to get yourself kitted out with your 2015/16 Season Ticket, all in time for the first of the pre-season friendlies against Grenoble on August 7th at the Sportsground.

Season tickets are excellent value and they ensure brilliant rugby days at the Sportsground from now until May 2016! Guarantee your access to the Ireland Squad Open Sessions (July 14th), pre-season friendlies, and 14 home games – all from just €269, which includes €40 off other tickets during the season and a host of other benefits. Family Season Tickets cover two adults and up to three juniors for every game, which is a huge saving on regular tickets.

Treat yourself, or give the gift of Connacht Rugby to your family or friends. Click here to join Connacht Rugby today!

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